Patience And Perspective

Originally published Wednesday, 19 June 2013.

I sat in the airport terminal for the last leg of a very winding and annoying trip to make it home. After hours of waiting due to an amazing amount of flight delays and cancellations, the super cute and comfortable outfit I carefully picked out so many hours before looked like a rumpled, frumpy mess.

My clothing reflected my attitude.

My patience had long since dripped down to depletion. Tempted to lash out at the airport gate employees, I stood in line waiting and observing. Somehow through my annoyed attitude, God opened my heart toward a vision of bigger perspective beyond my present lack of patience. Just because I was tired, fed up, hungry, disheveled, sweaty and impatient, this did not release me from living out God's greatest commandments:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ {Matthew 22:36-39}

A close second to loving God with all that we have is loving others as much or more than ourselves. Those airline workers were doing their very best to accommodate some very grumpy passengers. They did not need one more person (me!) making their life miserable with my impatient attitude. I was not exempt from God's commandment to love others in this situation.

How many times do people in our life test our patience and do we look with broader perspective beyond our present annoyance and inconvenience? How do our reactions help or hinder others?

~Does my unkind attitude toward the airline gate employee who is typing on her slow computer and doing best to accommodate me and my travels hurt her heart? Is my momentary impatience more important than the feelings of another child of God?

~Is your annoyance toward your coworker who is slow at picking up the job training you are giving doing any good at the moment? Or is it chipping away at her view of you and your professed faith in the Lord?

~Are the quick, harsh words thrown out to a family member worth the temporary release of frustration?

The broader perspective of loving others and following God's greatest commandments is that we look beyond the here and now; beyond our rushed impatience and think about the consequences of our attitude. Sometimes these consequences are unseen. We might never know the impact that our harsh words or attitude affect the ones we lash out at.

On the flip side, what would happen if we take a deep breath during our trying moment, step outside of ourselves and think twice about our reactions?  Maybe that coworker needs to hear encouraging words to get back on track with training. Maybe that sweet lady taking forever bagging our groceries had a drama filled morning and all she needs is a kind smile and a thank you. We have no idea what is going in the lives of those around us. If we take this broader perspective beyond our annoyance and impatience, we have the opportunity to love others even if it is just with a smile, a thank you, a "you are doing a great job."

May we allow God's love to shine through us even during our most unflattering, impatient, frazzled, ragged times of impatience. That long term impact of God working through us as we love others will override any temporary release of frustration. May we be quick to doll out patience and love rather than harsh words. May we take the broader, God-filled perspective that comes with patience.

Here is some powerful encouragement straight from THE source of patience.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. {Philippians 4:6}

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. {Galatians 6:9}

Do you have any Scripture that you look to when in need of patience? Leave a comment...let's chat!